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10 Elements of Minion Management
"There is no 'I' in team. But there is an M and an E."
--Unknown Minion Manager
How YOU manage the people that report to you says a lot about your character. Of course, calling them minions, even if they are in on the joke, is a bad way to start.
It is a pretty big step when you go from a one-person department or consulting company to being responsible for the lives of others. When you take that on, be ready to build a team, not just hand off your undesireable work.
Here are some key elements of leading your people...
- Vision/Mission/Goals: Your employees should be able to explain your department and organizational vision, mission, and goals after the first week. Can you? If neither of you can, there's a vacuum of leadership and that's your responsibility.
- Training: have an organized training plan for every position in your organization. Some people learn by reading, some people by hearing, and some people by doing. Nobody learns by osmosis.
- Reference materials: make sure you give proper access to reference materials needed in the job. That includes everything from internet access and Google to books, manuals, knowledgebase articles, and FAQs.
- Resources: invest in technology for your IT team. Not everyone needs bleeding edge, but your team should be on the leading edge. Don't save $100 on a smartphone and lose an employee to someone with better toys.
- Time: make yourself available as a resource to your team. This can be one of the hardest things to do when you also have technical or travel responsibilities, but you have to make time. Set aside time for office hours or regular catch-up meetings.
- Fellowship: provide some social interaction opportunities for your crew. Sometimes that just means a group lunch or beers after work. Sometimes that just means scheduled breaks. IT can be lonely and geeks need to cluster.
- Delegate: one of the fastest ways to learn something is to be put in charge of it. People know when you're keeping the good projects for yourself or only handing out the garbage work. Give people responsibility and hold them accountable. You'll really start to multiply your effectiveness when you do.
- Learning: learning isn't just training. It is an attitude and requires nurturing and encouragement. What gets learned was probably expensive (in time or resource), so it should also be documented. Take advantage of opportunities when your staff express interest in learning new things or taking on some training. If someone goes for training somewhere, have them report out to everyone else on the team what they learned, liked, and disliked.
- Discipline: grow a spine and fix things when they need to be fixed. Don't let problems grow, but don't meddle all the time either. However, one of the fastest ways to kill a team is to let unfair or unethical behavior go unchecked.
- Encourage: a kind word and praise goes a long way in building up your team. Don't manipulate: give it out when deserved and don't be shy about it (or over do it).
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